High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Honey, I Shrunk the Beach Boys...... The Pilot Episode of My 4-Part Series!




The rousing "Be True to Your School" is sung
to the melody of Hawthorne High School's
fight song which was derived from the
University of Wisconsin's "On Wisconsin."
Hawthorne High is where Beach Boys
members Brian, Carl & Dennis Wilson
and Al Jardine went to school.

In September 1963 the Beach Boys recorded
two versions of "Be True to Your School."
The first was released the following month
on the album Little Deuce Coup.

 "Be True to Your School" - The Beach Boys 
 (from Oct. 1963 album Little Deuce Coup

The 45 rpm version, which had a faster tempo
and added the sound of shouting cheerleaders
to the mix, was released around Halloween
and reached its peak of popularity between
Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The single narrowly missed the top 5
on Billboard and spent three weeks
at #1 on a station in Los Angeles.

 "Be True to Your School" 
 The Beach Boys (single version, 
  December 1963, highest chart pos. #6)    

I know the burning question
that's on your mind at this very moment.
Who were those cheerleaders?


They were The Honeys, the female counterparts of the
Beach Boys with close ties to them. The Honeys are
quite possibly the greatest girl group of the Sixties
that most people never knew about. Today I am
beginning a 4-part series dedicated to them and
other acts that captured the Beach Boys sound.

The Honeys were a Southern California trio that consisted
of the Rovell sisters, Marilyn and Diane, and their cousin
Sandra Glantz who used the stage name Ginger Blake.
Formed in the early 60s, The Honeys were introduced
to Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Wilson took the
girls under his wing, used them as background
singers on Beach Boys recordings including
 "Be True to Your School" and got them
a Capitol recording contract.

Brian Wilson became producer and head songwriter
for the Honeys and they began to release singles
of their own. Brian Wilson and Marilyn Rovell
developed a personal relationship and they
married in December 1964.

A few years later Brian and Marilyn became
the parents of Carnie and Wendy Wilson
who went on to join Chynna Phillips to
form the hit girl group trio of the 90s
called Wilson Phillips.

The Honeys got their name from the California
surf-rock scene in which female surfers or
girlfriends of male surfers are called honeys.
Jan and Dean referred to honeys in their
hit "Surf City," a song written in draft
form by Brian Wilson and finished
by Jan Berry and Dean Torrence.

Well there's two swingin' honeys for every guy
And all you gotta do is just wink your eye

The Honeys sang background vocals on the Jan and Dean
hits "The New Girl in School," "Dead Man's Curve"
and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena."


A while back I introduced songwriter/producer Gary Usher
and his studio creation Sagittarius featuring Glen Campbell.
Usher also brought us the Hondells, the group that achieved
a top 10 hit with the Beach Boys inspired "Little Honda."

Usher was behind many great recordings that reflected
Southern California's preoccupation with cars, surfing
and a casual, fun in the sun lifestyle. The Super Stocks,
another Usher engineered studio group that included
Glen Campbell, released fine surf rock/hot rod
instrumentals like this one, "Oceanside."

 "Oceanside" - The Super Stocks 
 (July 1964, from album Surf Route 101



In 1963 the Honeys were credited as "The Usherettes"
when they sang on Usher's 45 "Three Surfer Boys."

 "Three Surfer Boys" - Gary Usher and the Usherettes 
 (September 1963, uncharted) 


It should come as no surprise, therefore,
that first two singles released by the
Honeys were songs about surfing.

"Pray For Surf," the A side of the Honeys'
second single, has a sound similar to that of
two Jan and Dean hits which were charting
at the time, "Surf City" and "Honolulu Lulu."

 "Pray For Surf" - The Honeys 
 (September 1963, uncharted) 

Along with quality A sides...
killer bees were found on Honeys' wax!
(Insert groan giggle here.)

"Hide Go Seek," the fab flip
of "Pray For Surf,"
is the bee's knees!

 "(Oly Oxen Free Free Free) Hide Go Seek" 
 The Honeys  (Sept. 1963, B side of "Pray For Surf") 


Sharon Marie Esparza showed promise as a singer and
should been a star. Instead she was a no hit wonder.

As the story goes, 20 year old Sharon was the girl-
friend of Beach Boy Mike Love. In 1963, Mike and
Brian Wilson wrote the song "Run-Around Lover,"
Sharon recorded it, Brian produced the single and
it was released in the fall of that year. Although
it somehow failed to chart, this girl group ditty's
right in the surf rock groove!

 "Run-Around Lover" - Sharon Marie 
 (October 1963, uncharted) 








Have a Shady day!


  1. Hi Shady Del Knight,

    Thanks for this post about lesser known artists of the 60's beach/music culture in the USA. I enjoyed the instrumentals in Super Stocks Oceanside and video of the famous long boards which were popular here too. I didn't know girlfriends of male surfers were known as honeys and that Brian Wilson wedded one of the trio :). One of the great bands from another era, the Beach Boys and thanks for the snapshot about other artists during this time, Shady Del Knight, yours at writing the rapids, Allie-Millie

    1. Hello, dear Allie-Millie! It appears that I was over at your place reading and writing the rapids whilst you were here, sweet friend. Thank you very much for coming!

      I hope you have a chance to see the 2000 TV movie The Beach Boys: An American Family. It is excellent, It includes a scene in which Marilyn Rovell of the Honeys spills hot chocolate in Brian Wilson's lap at a club. Apparently that mishap ignited their romance and the rest is history. The two part movie is filled with great scenes like that one and loaded with Beach Boys songs. Please look it up and watch it if you can.

      In my research I am finding many key people behind the scenes who created the California surf and hot rod music that was popular in the U.S. in the early 60s. You will meet them and other artists they influenced as you continue to follow this 4-part series week by week.

      Thank you again for dropping by, dear friend Allie-Millie, Good night and have a wonderful week ahead!

  2. I read your reply to Allie and remember us watching that Beach Boys movie in 2000. The best scenes were the ones with the domineering Wilson father injecting himself into their practice sessions and being so critical of the boys. I wish that movie would show up on Netflix so that we could watch it again. I never heard the album version of Be True To Your School, only the one with the cheerleaders on it, Great post!

    1. Hi, Kathryn! Thank you very much for reporting in this morning, I too wish we could find that 2000 Beach Boys biopic. It was one of the best made for TV movies I've ever seen. I agree about the scenes in which the Wilson dad messed with their heads and tried to make all of the decisions governing the Beach Boys career. If they were accurate and not an exaggeration then it's a wonder all that great music got produced in such a pressure cooker environment. I read that Brian Wilson did not like the film, particularly the scenes depicting brother Dennis Wilson's involvement with Charles Manson.

      To me the single version of "Be True to Your School" is definitive. Most people who commented on YouTube agree that the album version w/o the Honeys as cheerleaders is not nearly as good.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, Mrs. S, and have a nice day!

  3. Shady, My Good Man:

    This is a fantastic Beach Boy post because it opens up the discussion to more topical pursuits than Brian Wilson's later nuttiness and decline.

    Vague awareness of The Honeys is all I have in my neuron locker, but all that DNA sludge did create a great group in Wilson Phillips. I always wished they would have had some longevity; I liked the sound.

    In general, any of the three or four part harmony groups are always on my "like" list.

    Sharon Marie totally missed my radar, though! Too bad; I agree - she should have had more of an impact. I'm wondering if HER Beach Boy benefactor gave less push to her career. Performers can be weirdly jealous, but I'm just speculating here...don't sue me, Mike Love (you are my least favorite Beach Boy, Mike. I'm sorry.).

    Can't wait for the rest, Shady! Hope you're having a peaceful, relaxing weekend.

    Love, Cherdo

    1. Hi, dear Cherdo! Thank you for coming over! How well I remember the splash Wilson Phillips made in 1990 with their album and first video "Hold On." It played heavily on the MTV style television station where I worked.

      I find it surprising how many artists who benefited from Beach Boys/Brian Wilson connections, writing and producing failed to achieve hit records. The Honeys are a perfect example and Sharon Marie is another. I will be introducing a number of other artists and their Beach Boy influenced recordings in the remaining three posts of this series. They are all great recordings but consistently sold poorly. The same can be said of many of the Spectoresque recordings I am featuring in my Echoes series. In my opinion, many of them are better than those Phil Spector produced, yet they flopped.

      I met Mike Love in 1984 when he came to the television station where I worked prior to going to the MTV station. The Beach Boys were in Tampa Bay for a show and he came to our studio for an interview and to tape promos for the event.

      Thank you very much for swinging by, dear friend Cherdo. I hope you are having a great weekend and I wish you a happy week ahead!

  4. Hi Shady,
    Can you believe I was born in Sunny CA and was NEVER a Beach Boy fan?
    I will say, those Honey's got around. I enjoyed their background vocals. To me, their songs sound just like the BB, I guess that was what it was suppose to sound like. I did enjoy your history lesson about them. I will say, I AM a super fan of Wilson-Phillips. Love, L o v e, L O V E their sound and songs!!! My fav surf song on this post is , wait for it. . .
    Run around lover by Sharon Marie!
    Have a great sunny day in FL!!!
    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, dear Toni! Thank you for joining the conversation about the BB's and their Honeys. It must have been exciting working as a session singer or musician in the record business in the early 60s. One day the Rovell sisters and their cousin Sandra were uncredited cheerleaders on a Beach Boys record. The next day they were called the Usherettes on a Gary Usher production. The day after that they recorded as the Honeys. In coming installments of this series you will learn that they made records under at least three other artist names. Glen Campbell was part of Phil Spector's studio orchestra The Wrecking Crew. He played on those surf rock instrumentals by the Super Stocks. He was lead singer of the group known as Sagittarius. Gary Usher was behind many surf, sun and car songs of the era. Sonny and Cher started as session singers on Phil Spector hits. Brian Wilson collaborated with Jan Berry on a dozen hits and album tracks released by Jan and Dean. The list goes on and on.

      I'm glad you remember Wilson Phillips, an act that provided eye candy along with a smooth. sophisticated girl pop sound in the 90s and I am also pleased that you enjoyed "Run-Around Lover" by no-hit wonder Sharon Marie.

      Thank you again for being here today, dear friend Toni. I hope you had a great weekend up there in the frozen north and that you will have a safe and happy week ahead!

  5. i just love the Beach Boys!! now i remember that you told me not long ago that you would be doing a Beach Boys series in September. Hooray!
    i guess i never really wondered who the cheerleaders were in 'Be True To Your School'. i hadn't really thought about it, but i just assumed the voices to be studio musicians and/or friends of the folks who made the song. it certainly is a rousing song and cheer.
    it was delightful to read and hear about those ladies. they are a great group. i just love 60s beach rock!
    i sure am excited for this new series, Shady.
    -Abigail and Daisy

    1. Hi, Abigail & Daisy! You have an excellent memory, my dear friend. It pleases me very much to know that you remember me promoting this series a few months ago. What a great friend you are!

      You made a good point. Record making was often a "family affair." Background vocalists on popular recordings, hits as well as misses, were sometimes friends or family members of the artist or the producer. The Honeys got many opportunities because of their links to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys yet, strangely enough, none of their fine recordings caught on and became a hit. History has been kind, however. Today the recordings produced by Brian and his Honeys are highly praised and sought after by girl group collectors around the world.

      I'm thrilled that you enjoyed Part 1, dear friend Abigail. Have a wonderful week and I'll see you back here for episodes 2, 3 and 4!

      God bless!

  6. Hi Shady. Finally making it over, and what a pleasant surprise! I truly love the Beach Boys, just couldn't believe their sound when I first heard them. Can't even give a favorite, from 'Surfin' Safari', 'In My Room', 'Little Deuce Coup', and even 'In My Room'! But, I didn't know about the Honeys and Sharon Marie. As i listened I could see where they fit in. 'Run Around Lover' is really good, who knows why she didn't take off with it. Sharon could have been another Leslie Gore, but with more 'BITE'!

    Well, your videos were really good, I just love looking at classic cars and the woodies. And the 'Oceanside' video was great, although I wasn't overly fond of the song.

    I grew up in Kansas you know, and, never got to see any beaches, so those Beach Boys and Jan and Dean sure stirred up an attraction in me I guess. As soon as I graduated High School, I was off to California to see my first beach! And, I've gotten to see a few more since. Do hope to make it to Galveston again soon. Karo has never been, and he has lived in Texas all of his life...I've got to get him there!

    We had our little Scootie this weekend, and had to get him back this evening so he could go to school tomorrow. Guess I'd better get off and get that coffee ready for the morning. Glad I got to see you this evening. I confess I cheated a came over earlier today, but I had to surrender my computer over to the Scoots for his PBS Kids site, so I had to wait my turn to come back. LOL!

    Great post Shady, you put a lot into it, and used great pictures! Have a wonderful, cool and 'Shady' week! ♫

    1. Hello hello hello, dear Suzanne! Thank you very much for coming to my potty... uh... to my PARTY! I'm happy to know you enjoyed the beachy keen sounds of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's "Pet Projects" which included the Honeys and Sharon Marie.

      When I was growing up in York, PA, I made it over to the Maryland and Jersey beaches every summer; but the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and other pioneers of surf rock made every kid in America, even those in landlocked Kansas, feel like they were a part of the surfing and hot rod craze.

      I hope Scootie's enjoying his school year. Over here the kids have been back in school for weeks and the temperature still rises into the 90s in the afternoon. Hurry autumn!

      Thanks again for coming over the same day, dear friend Suzanne. I have a feeling you will love parts 2, 3 and 4 of this series so stay tuned, Have a wonderful week, Suzie-Q!

  7. I love the beach, and these great tunes provide such a great backdrop for dreaming of the beach, thinking of the beach, wishing you were at the beach.... especially enjoyed these I had never heard before.

    Love all of these, my friend. Just out of curiosity, what is your favorite, all time beach tune?

    1. Hi, Shelly! Thank you very much for coming by, dear friend. I'm delighted to know that these song selections got you thinking about fun in the sun at the beach. It stands to reason that many summer themed records were released and played on the radio during the warm weather seasons. Seems to me that the timing would have been better if Jerry Keller's hit "Here Comes Summer" had been released in the spring. Instead, it got a late start and didn't begin its ride on the chart until after the 4th of July. Other popular recordings reminisced about the summer season after it ended. Examples are Robin Ward's "Wonderful Summer" which charted in the fall of 1963 and the Shelley Fabares single "The Things We Did Last Summer" which charted in the fall of 1962.

      To answer your question, my all time favorite beach tune is "Beach Baby" by the English studio group First Class, a record that brings back vivid and very fond memories of my vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC in September of 1974.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend Shelly. Have a wonderful week!

  8. I love beach music. This was a real treat!

  9. Well hello, dear Carol! It's also a special treat for me to have you over for a visit. I'm delighted to know you enjoyed the sounds of the Beach Boys, the Honeys and the other featured artists.

    You are welcome here at SDM&M any time, dear Carol, and I hope you will come again soon. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  10. I want to go back in time to be a Honey. That looks like fun.


    1. Hello, Janie Junebug! I think you would have made a honey of a Honey and I'd have gladly given you a ride in my woodie!

      Wait until you hear all the styles of music the Honeys performed over the years. I love it all and I hope you will, too. Stay tuned!

      Thank you for joining the fun, dear friend Janie. Good night and have a terrific Tuesday!

    2. I wanna see that woodie. Just how big is it?

  11. This post was not only fun, but brought back many memories of that era...I so wanted to be a beach babe! I had many cousins who lived in the LA area and when I was 13 we took a trip out west. My uncles had wanted Dad to move out there in the worst way. My Dad said there was no way he'd raise kids in that environment....I was really bummed...didn't he realize he was taking my Gidget possibilities away? Maybe it was seeing all the cousins in bikinis and bare feet running a muck at the beach! (alas, I had to wear a one piece suit....yuk) So listening to the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean and the others was the closest I'd ever get to being a "West coast girl"....I was stuck being a "Midwest farmer's daughter"....wait, maybe Chicago was more the "Northern girls keeping their boyfriends warm at night"....wait, that doesn't sound right Dad would have had a stroke! Anyway, thanks for the memories and great music..I'm looking forward to the next post!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Thank you very much for attending part 1 of my 4 part beach bash featuring the sweet sounds of the Honeys and other Beach Boys and Brian Wilson related artists.

      I can relate to what you wrote here. The Southern California lifestyle captured the imagination of kids all over the country. Millions of us dreamed of living a carefree life out there where the weather's always warm - surfing, sunning, dancing and romancing on the beach and driving fast muscle cars, sports cars, convertibles and classic woodies. All of those experiences were captured in the recordings made by the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and others.

      I enjoyed your comment very much, sweet friend. It's the kind I like most because I learned more about what was going on in your life and in your head back then. I have a feeling that Frankie Avalon would have kicked Annette to the curb if he had seen you, the American Sophia Loren, in a bathing suit at his beach party.

      Thank you again for coming, dear friend YaYa. I hope you're having a great week and that you will join me for the Honeys part 2 post coming up this Sunday. God bless!

  12. I love this old music! Thank you! and thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment.

    1. Hi, Beth! Welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories. I am thrilled to have you as a new follower and hope you will visit regularly.

      Week by week I present a variety of music, something to suit just about every taste. The most important thing you'll find here, however, is genuine friendship and the opportunity to meet nice people of all ages from around the world. All are welcome here and that includes you. I hope you will come back soon and allow me to entertain you and get to know you better.

      I am now following one of your blogs, dear friend Beth. Thank you again and enjoy the rest of your week!

  13. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 25, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    I recently came across a magazine article that celebrated the sixties as an amazing watershed that culturally influenced so much that came after it. An accompanying montage of familiar images from the time included the Beach Boys right beside Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King, and JFK.

    Instead of feeling just plain old, as I sometimes do when seeing such things, I felt proud to have my teen and young adult years honored, despite being blissfully unaware, or maybe ignorant, back then of what was truly happening. (Did the townsfolk of Florence, Italy in the late 1400s know they were alive during the Renaissance?) Anyway, I am happy you are devoting several posts to these icons from "my" time, and the groups they influenced.

    Most of the information and songs from this post were new to me, probably because the BBs rose to fame when I was at the height of my classical music training. I do remember surreptitiously loving their harmonies and particularly appreciating the delightful changes of key in their songs. I hated to admit that their sound was distinctive and addictive!

    However, since I was battling my piano teacher at the time to play such things as the music from "West Side Story", I knew better than to express admiration for the Beach Boys. She despised popular music and routinely told me I was wasting my time and talent on such an inferior (in her view) thing.

    When I finally switched my career goal from the concert hall to the art classroom, I left York and my piano teacher's singular views behind to go to college, where it took all the time and energy I had to get a degree. The most music I heard initially was what my dorm mates liked. Eventually I realized I was free to enjoy any art form, but I've been playing catchup with any music other than classical ever since.

    I've listened to all the songs on this post at least twice, and when I first played Be True To Your School, Bob started singing along. Characteristically, I remembered the melody but not the title. Obviously he was more aware as a teen than I! I think I like the original better than the second version. I'm a little distracted by the changes on the latter.

    The Wilsons sure kept their musical talents in the family, as good a place as any to spread influence. As for a domineering father, that's as familiar as Mozart's dad in Amadeus. I've seen it in the stage moms in Elisabeth's dance experience and on the sidelines of my son's sports venues.

    As distasteful as it appears, and surely is in many respects, who knows what a little push or even advice ended up contributing to the artists' and athletes' eventual fame. We saw what happened when Tiger Woods' dad passed away. Like most things in life, there's a fine balance to be struck, and our upbringing can either drive us to excellence or to becoming unhinged - sometimes both!

    I was inspired to hit the books so to speak over this week and learn more about Brian Wilson. One site mentioned that his breakdown and fallow period preceded some of his best work. Who would have thought something so painful could end up being a good thing? Oh yes, another interesting thing I read was that only one of the Beach Boys actually knew how to surf!

    Time won't allow comment on all the songs, although Oceanside reminded me of the Ventures' "Walk Don't
    Run", a favorite of ours. And I must say, the brief cowbell part in 3 Surfer Boys is vastly different than the one I hear summoning me for help from one pretty high-maintenance 102-year-old original Dell rat! :)

    My antennae will be up for what you have in store for us in the rest of this series, Tom. It'll be sweet to get the buzz on the groups who spread their wings with the Beach Boys sound. Much better than me bumble-ing around on Wikipedia like a stupid drone. (Sorry.... couldn't resist! I aPOLLENgize for these sillies!)

    1. Hi, dear Kathleen! Thank you very much for making time to read the post, listen to the songs and even do some homework on the side. Please don't spend too much time surfing the web for info about the Beach Boys. I don't want you to end up knowing more than I do. :)

      I was alive in the late 1400s and living in sin in Italy with a gal named Florence. To answer your question, we didn't realize we were living in the Renaissance period. (I had a velvet Elvis on my wall. What does that tell ya?)

      You mentioned Amadeus. I was shocked to learn that Mozart's wife was none other than Elizabeth Berridge, that babe from The Funhouse! (Get busy doing more Wiki research.:)

      Yessum, Brian Wilson's nervous breakdown led to a period of magnificent achievement in the studio. This series will go on to explore Brian's work during those years, not with the Beach Boys, but rather with The Honeys, who evolved from backing singers and surf rock girl group to a delightfully mature vocal group that recorded in a Carole King style. I think you'll enjoy this journey, Kathleen.

      Thank you again, my dear friend, for coming over for some fun and relaxation. I'm glad Bob was close by to hear the tunes also. Part 2 of the series hits Sunday and I hope you'll be back to experience it. Until then please take good care of yourself and Mother.

      God bless!

  14. Oh, Part II, I'm looking for you....

    Love, Cherdo

    1. "They say patience is a virtue,
      so I will not desert you."
      - Jimmy Ruffin

      "We will sell no wine before its time"
      - Orson Welles ad for
      Paul Masson wine

      Hello again, dear Cherdo!

      The new post is only hours away.
      See you tomorrow morning, dear friend!
      Hang on!

  15. Shady, I just wanted to tell you how happy it makes me to see the total number of comments at a nice... even... 30. I will sleep well tonight, my friend...



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